AGAINST ALL ODDS
Nursing Was An Accident In My Life But I Am Loving The Injuries: Vithoba Mhalkar
When nursing education was a female fiefdom, VithobaMhalkar was amongst the few males to try their hand at this profession. Currently faculty at Institute of Nursing Education at Bambolim, teaching psychiatry and research Vithoba has recalls how this noble and evolving profession can be a medium to care for others.
When you meet this young guy with white apron instructing the to-be nurses about their nuisances of the profession, you are bound to mistake him for a doctor. Meet Vithoba Mhalkar, teaching faculty at INE,Bambolim. He is one amongst the first few to take up nursing as a profession and he has made a mark for himself and certainly has become the torch bearer of it.
“I am from Pirna village in Bardez but due to my father’s business we shifted to Margao. He suffered losses and the family went through lot of financial crisis. After the demise of my father when I was in XIth std my mother took the responsibility of running the house taking job of attendant in a private school in the morning and running a flour mill in the evening,” narrates Vithoba as we sat down for an interview with him.
During the time when it was a usual thing to take up Nursing as a vocation owing to the low percentage in the examination, Vithoba was an exception. Having a distinction at secondary school level ,in the entire list on the basis of merit he was first for admissions in Nursing. This was in the year 1998.
He admits that his main purpose of joining nursing was to get the government job once he passes out from there. “One of my relative had told me that this is one profession that can give an easy access to the government job once you pass out from here,” said Vithoba whose goal was to have financial stability to himself and his family in the career path that he chooses.
When Vithoba opted to be a nurse the financial situation of his family was at the lowest ebb. “I wanted to help the family from this crisis. My mother was doing odd job, brother was seven years younger to me and sister was at uncle’s place,” he recalls.
At that time, there was no degree course in nursing education in Goa, but still he opted it knowing it well that it is a diploma in General Nursing and Psychiatry. The only hope was to get the government job.
Life was not easy for Vithoba when he joined nursing. The class of 45 had only three boys. “It was a bit odd situation for me. I was surrounded with all girls and we were only three boys,” he said.
Then Vithoba resigned to the fate. He decided to adjust and carry on. “It took one month for me to reconcile to the fact that this is the future. Then things became normal and there was no looking back thereafter,” he says with a wide smile on his face.
While psychologically Vithoba made peace with the fact that he has chosen the profession which is female dominated, socially it was tough for this young lad with extra intelligence and who had carved a niche for himself in the extra-curricular activities.
Vithoba narrates an anecdote when he went to meet his former school principal. When he told the principal that he has chosen to be a nurse, he could not digest it. “He was furious. He said I expected you to do much better. By becoming a nurse, you are ruining your career.”
But down the line Vithoba proved the principal “absolutely wrong.” Now with the degree of MPhil in Nursing which is the first ever in the State and mentoring budding nurses through Institute of Nursing Education, he has become an example to emulate for others.
All three years, Vithoba was first during his course of nursing. He passed out in the year 2001 with distinction. And he was destined to be, he got a government job in the year 2004 and was posted at Goa Medical college, Bambolim where he worked and garnered experience in various departments like ICCU, Surgery, neurology etc. . He used the provision which allows the leave to have in-service education and Vithoba took admission in KLE, Belgaum and completed his graduation under Indira Gandhi National Open University with a distinction.
He did Masters in Hospital Administration through ICFAI university. Vithoba also completed his Masters in Psychiatric Nursing from Manipal university with a distinction.In the year 2013, he was deputed as faculty in Institute of Nursing Education at Bambolim, a facility that he still continues to serve. In the year 2015 he completed his Masters of Philosophy in Nursing (M.Phil) by standing first in Manipal University with distinction thereby becoming the first person in Goa to acquire it for which he was felicitated by the then health minister Adv. Francis D’Souza.He is also a certified emotional intelligence trainer and ably uses his expertise in infusing optimism, assertiveness and leadership qualities in the upcoming generations. He has attended many research conferences and also has research publications too to his credit. A multifaceted personality Vithoba has personal interest in writing stories, conducting quiz, taking emotional intelligence seminars and workshops and he is equally a good poet too.
In the entire journey, Vithoba says that he encountered different kind of people who used to make understanding out of his career as nurse. “To nurse is to care for somebody. Nursing is like applying scientific knowledge and the art of caring and blending it in caring the body, mind and the soul. It takes alot of knowledge, expertise and dedication to be a good nurse,” he explains.
“The best part of this profession is that you are working with humans and not the machines. With the innovations, specialisations and advent of evidence based practice in nursing one can leave their footprints by showing the intent to learn the art of caring in the most sophisticated way. I always tell my students that the image of any profession lies in how well you being in it view it and if you feel there has to be any change then be the agent of change yourself, where there is will there’s a way’” he further reiterates that,” behind every successful man there is a woman, I was fortunate that I had two. One was my mother and other one being my better half who always gave that rock solid support and boost to achieve the goals and miles stones that I have soared. I really owe a lot to them”.
Vithoba has a basic tendency to interact with human at a personal note, to crack jokes and to make the atmosphere lively which also makes him one of the favourite teachers in the institute amongst students.
If someone wants to enter the profession, the first and important quality is the intent to serve mankind without bias and second is to handle the competition and stress in life in the most positive way, he said. Vithoba says “With glorious 10 years of clinical expertise in GMC and four years plus experience in teaching I would certainly say that Nursing was an accident in my life but i am loving the injuries.”
We salute Vithoba Mhalkar for the kind of career orientation he had in his life. He is an inspiration for many boys who search for an excuse to leave the state in search of a career and settle for less. His story can make them wait back in their homeland, and be a role model for others.